Many people have seen the name Ed Buck gracing the pages of the news lately. The millionaire, high-profile political donor spent large chunks of money over the past decade on popular Democratic candidates, gaining a seat at the political white, politically elite table. Along with Buck’s history of sizable contributions to the candidacy of politicians like Kirsten Synema and Hillary Clinton, Buck has a record of something far more sinister: preying on young, black queer men.
Predation works in patterns. Once one victim is discovered, others appear soon after. In the case of Ed Buck, his preferred victim was and still is gay, black men who are in vulnerable positions.
The case of 26 year old Gemmel Moore provides an example of Ed Buck relying on his money and power to lure in potential targets.
According to Gemmel Moore’s own diary, Ed Buck provided him his first injection of crystal meth and continued to inject it into him, eventually getting Gemmel hooked on the drug. His diary entries from that year went so far as to say, “I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got manipulated [sic] into slamming again…If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”
Gemmel was found dead in Buck’s apartment, naked on a mattress with a pornography film playing in the background. A large number of syringes containing drug residue were found near his body along with a significant amount of other drug paraphernalia.
A lesson in the vicious nature of white privilege followed Gemmel’s death.
Buck, still revered by some in the white political establishment, was not arrested, was not charged with any crimes, and was allowed to continue his life unimpeded. The baffling nature of those events boggles even the dullest political minds. After all, how many people can really get away with having a drugged, dead body in their home next to a stockpile of needles and pipes in the same apartment?
The answer was the one-hundred and eighty degree opposite of what we all expected.
And what could be more traumatizing than one dead body in a drug-riddled apartment, but a second black, gay man found dead in the exact same circumstances.
In January of 2019, the body of Timothy Dean, a 55 year old man from Hollywood, was found in Buck’s apartment.
What is the public supposed to make of a second death of a black, queer man in less than two years, with zero prosecution, no charges, and no arrest of the man in whose home the deaths occurred?
What is the Black queer community supposed to make of West Hollywood’s seeming lack of urgency about the lives of these men? Are we even safe here? Do black lives matter in West Hollywood?
The ridiculous spectacle that has ensued since Timothy’s death has shown the insidious nature of whiteness and political power.
Not one single punishment has been levied against Buck; he continues to roam the streets of Los Angeles. He spends time with other young, Black men in public.
After the bodies of two Black men were found in his living quarters, the fact that he feels free to walk the streets of this city is a travesty.
Buck and the system, politicians and his supporters reek of white privilege because a man who has wielded so much political clout through the years is not alone in his actions.
It takes a village to cover up a murder, let alone two.
West Hollywood has endured a whirlwind of trauma related to sexual violence in the past two years. From the loss of two Black lives, to the allegations of sexual harassment at the hands of Mayor John Duran, the city has shouldered a big burden.
The misconduct allegations against John Duran represent another disturbing pattern of powerful white men abusing their positions for their own benefit.
John Duran’s practice of slippery denials have been a prolonged and damaging embarrassment for the wider LGBTQ community. Duran, a proud champion of queer rights since the beginning of his career, leverages his power to hide and his gay identity to justify predatory behavior; it’s a crushing realization for members of the queer community that the politician they elected to be their hero has shown that he cares more about his political legacy than the lives of the WeHo residents he was charged with protecting.
John Duran and Ed Buck are inextricably linked, even beyond the fact John Duran was Ed Buck’s attorney in the past.
The pair represent the way predators in power protect other predators at all costs.
When John Duran was mayor, Ed Buck faced zero pressure from the city to answer for the deaths of Timothy and Gemmel. Duran’s misconduct is out in the open and with his removal the healing can begin. Sexual predators must be removed from power because time’s up for abusers.
West Hollywood deserves better than to live in trauma and fear.
What should be a safe space for the LGBTQ community — WeHo — has become a political playground for powerful white men to run wild.
How much more must the black queer community endure so that Ed Buck can live without suffering consequence?
It’s up to us to check their power and build a world based on justice, instead of privilege.
Let’s see what happens under Mayor John D’Amico.